Purpose To help with planning of a palliative care program, we reviewed the place of death of patients who were registered at our comprehensive cancer center and explored factors that predicted death in the hospital versus death at home. Patients and Methods: A retrospective study was undertaken of local patients who were registered at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and died during the 1997/1998 fiscal year. Data from the institutional tumor registry and from the State of Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics file were collected and analyzed. The main outcome measures were place of death, patient characteristics associated with place of death, and time from registration at the institution to death. Results: Of 1,793 local patients, 251 (14\%) died at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; the remaining 86\% died elsewhere. A total of 617 (34\%) died at home, and 929 (52\%) died in an acute hospital setting (including M.D. Anderson). A total of 1,040 (58\%) died within 2 years of registration. The risk of hospital death versus home death increased for patients with cancer at a hematologic site (odds ratio [OR], 4.4; 95\% confidence interval [CI], 2.8 to 6.8) and black ethnicity (OR, 1.9; 95\% CI, 1.4 to 2.6) and decreased for patients who paid with Medicare (OR, 0.71; 95\% CI, 0.57 to 0.90). Conclusion: Most patients died in an acute care hospital setting and within 2 years of registration. Our data show some predictors of hospital death for cancer patients and suggest that better hospital palliative care services and integrated palliative care systems that bridge community and acute hospitals are needed. (C) 2002 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.